Love 2000 years ago

Antique garnet & gold earrings from the de Clercq collection, 1st/2nd century AD.

These gold and garnet earrings invite you on a journey into the past, a journey in several stages that leads from the edge of the Mediterranean via France and Switzerland to Berlin. It is a journey in the sign of the love of beauty, life and also the very earthly pleasures. The ear jewellery each sets a muggled garnet in frames of gold, divided by smooth and twisted gold wires, and presents the garnets on simple gold hoops. It is ear jewellery of the 1st or 2nd century AD and probably originated in the eastern Mediterranean. So the red glowing earrings are already around 2000 years old and originally adorned a wealthy citizen of the Roman Empire. Perhaps they were a gift of love, perhaps they also had a cultic meaning? By chance, however, they survived the following centuries. For until the middle of the 19th century they probably rested hidden under the earth. As the second stage of the journey of the hearts, a Frenchman now comes into play. Louis Constantin Henri De Clercq (*1836, in Oignies, Pas-de-Calais; †1901, ibid.) was a photographer, industrialist and explorer all in one, a jack-of-all-trades whose passion for the art of antiquity had taken him to Syria and ancient Mesopotamia. He took part in various expeditions, published richly illustrated photographic books about the region, and over time built up one of the most important private collections of antiquities of his time. He only acquired objects from excavations in the Syrian-Phoenician region, alongside pieces from Mesopotamia and Cyprus. De Clerq's collection remained in the possession of the family. It was not until 1968 that 653 objects became part of the Louvre's collection. Thousands of other pieces were subsequently sold through the art trade. To get an overview of the wealth and richness of the collection, the seven volumes of the collection catalogue published between 1885 and 1911 are recommended. The section on earrings alone in the 7th volume on jewellery (Paris 1911) comprises 1071 numbers, with several gold earrings with garnet inlays in the shape of hearts mentioned from no. 1025 onwards. These will be, among others, the earrings presented here. The earrings presented here also come from the De Clerqs collection. The previous owner acquired them in 1972 from the art dealer Albrecht Neuhaus in Würzburg, i.e. immediately after the collection was dissolved. The original certificate from Neuhaus has been preserved: From the possession of one of the greatest lovers of antiquities of his time, it thus passed here into the hands of the next friend of antiquity. It must have been in those years that the earrings were made wearable again in the form in which they exist today. At the time when the jewellery was made, i.e. in the 1st or 2nd century AD, the hoop of the earrings was simply bent open, passed through the ear hole and put back together again. As part of the De Clerqs collection, they were probably stored like this in collection cabinets. After the collection was sold, the ear screws and the elements connecting them to the hoops were added in order to simplify this procedure, which is somewhat strenuous for the ear. They are only attached and can be removed without a trace if desired. We were able to purchase the earrings for you in Switzerland. They are in first class condition and - a rare stroke of luck - even wearable due to the modern additions! So now they are waiting to add a new chapter to their millennia-old story of love.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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